RT – A Spanish court has agreed to temporarily extradite former Venezuelan deputy energy minister, Nervis Villalobos, to the US to face charges for a bribery scheme involving the country’s state oil company, PDVSA.
National Court Judge Ismael Moreno agreed to a maximum extradition of six months on Thursday, the US had requested a year. Villalobos now has five days to appeal the ruling to the High Court.
Villalobos, who was deputy minister for energy between 2001 to 2006, was arrested in Spain at the request of US authorities in October 2017. He is accused of accepting payment to obtain contracts with PDVSA, while also being investigated by Spanish authorities for suspected money laundering and bribery.
Global Research – Smashing the claims of “protecting democracy” in Venezuela, the United States National Security Advisor John Bolton said in an interview that they are backing the illegal coup in the South American country because of oil.
“It will make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American oil companies invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela,” Bolton told Fox News in an interview this week.
Venezuelan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jorge Arreaza wrote on Twitter,
“Confession … @ AmbJohnBolton confirms that the COUP is about OIL.”
Confesión de parte: @AmbJohnBolton confirma que el GOLPE es PETROLERO. Desde el segundo 48: “HARÁ UNA GRAN DIFERENCIA PARA LOS EEUU ECONÓMICAMENTE si podemos tener empresas petroleras estadounidenses invirtiendo de verdad y produciendo las capacidades petroleras en Venezuela” https://t.co/fXnLBT1PWL
— Jorge Arreaza M (@jaarreaza) January 30, 2019
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said in an interview Wednesday that the U.S. just wants to seize Venezuela’s oil and mineral resources and that is the reason behind backing the coup and intervention in the Latin American country.
“The reason is seizing the oil of Venezuela, because we have the largest oil reserves, we confirm that we have the largest reserves of gold in the world, we have the world’s fourth-largest gas (reserves), have large reserves of coltan, diamonds, aluminum, iron, we have drinking water reserves throughout the national territory, we have energy and natural resources,” said the Venezuelan president.
The U.S. has backed the coup by Juan Guaido, who on Jan. 23 illegally declared himself the “interim president” of Venezuela.
U.S. President Donald Trump recognized the self-proclaimed president. The same was done by the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, who has instigated attacks against Maduro and his government.
Maduro and the Venezuelan people are resisting this coup attempt by the interventionist North American country.
The new U.S. measures against Venezuela include the freezing of some US$7 billion in assets of the Venezuelan state oil company (PDVSA), in addition to an estimated loss of US$11 billion of exports over the next few years.
The sanctions are applied to the Venezuelan government; to any political organizations; state agencies, including the Bank of Venezuela and PDVSA; as well as to any person acting in the interest of the “government of Nicolas Maduro.”
Denouncing the U.S. interventionism, Maduro said that Venezuela is a sovereign country and not part of a U.S. backyard.
“They (the United States) consider us their backyard. And we say that we are not anyone’s backyard, we are an independent republic,” Maduro asserted.
Al Jazeera – The United States armed forces said it has killed 24 members of the Al-Shabab armed group in an airstrike carried out on Wednesday.
In a statement released on Thursday, US Africa Command said the strike took place on a camp near Shebeeley Hiran in central Somalia.
“Precision strikes are part of our strategy. Strikes continue to help our partners make progress in their fight against the transnational terrorists who oppose peace in Somalia and the region,” Director of US Africa Command Major General Gregg Olson said in the statement.
According to the press release, “no civilians were injured or killed in this airstrike”.
U.S. News, Politics & Government
Breitbart – Thursday at her weekly press briefing, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) declared there was not going to be any wall money in the legislation that comes out of the ongoing bipartisan negotiations on funding for border security.
When asked if the compromise will include border wall money, Pelosi said, “We are not having a negotiation over this right now. They are having a negotiation over there. There is not going to be any wall money in the legislation.”
She added, “However if they have some suggestions about certain localities, technology, some infrastructure about these ports of entry maybe we need more ports of entry, that’s part of the negotiation. It is not a negotiation for the president’s sake. What did he say today? He said it doesn’t matter what Congress does. I knew he wanted at all to himself. I mean really? A president who wants Congress is completely irrelevant in how we meet the needs of the American people? No. Come on.”
Fox – Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., are preparing to introduce “Green New Deal” legislation — marking a big step forward in the push to implement a massive package of big-government programs aimed at radically transforming the American economy.
Axios first reported that the lawmakers could introduce a bill as early as next week, though details are vague and it is unclear to what extent the proposal will stick to a draft document Ocasio-Cortez had circulated last year. A spokesperson for Markey confirmed to Fox News that the two lawmakers are working together — on a proposal that has become a rallying cry on the left.
CNS news – “Get the hell out of public office” if you can’t condemn post-birth abortion, Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) said Wednesday, responding to Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s (D) comment in which he seemed to imply that the decision to abort a child could be made after birth under his new abortion bill.
In a statement denouncing Gov. Northam’s comment provided to CNSNews.com, Sen. Sasse bemoaned how quickly Democrats’ stance on abortion has deteriorated. Anyone, from any party, who can’t defend life after birth, is unfit for public office and should “get the hell out,” Sasse said in his statement:
“This is morally repugnant. In just a few years pro-abortion zealots went from ‘safe, legal, and rare’ to ‘keep the newborns comfortable while the doctor debates infanticide.’ I don’t care what party you’re from — if you can’t say that it’s wrong to leave babies to die after birth, get the hell out of public office.” — Senator Ben Sasse
Gov. Northam sparked outrage earlier in the day when he made the comments in an interview on local Washington, D.C. radio station WTOP, in which he described what would happen to a born-alive baby if his new bill is enacted:
“If a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen. The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.”
Newsmax – President Donald Trump early Thursday argued on Twitter for his call for wall construction at the nation’s southern border, calling on lawmakers to quit “playing political games.”
“Large sections of WALL have already been built with much more either under construction or ready to go,” Trump tweeted.
“Renovation of existing WALLS is also a very big part of the plan to finally, after many decades, properly Secure Our Border. The Wall is getting done one way or the other! Lets just call them WALLS from now on and stop playing political games! A WALL is a WALL!
The tweets come after House Democrats Wednesday presented a border plan that did not provide any money for the border wall, arguing that the money would be spent better in other security measures.
Trump further on Thursday pointed out that Mexico’s murder rates are on the rise, following reports earlier this month that cases climbed by 33 percent in 2018.
“This is a big contributor to the Humanitarian Crises taking place on our Southern Border and then spreading throughout our Country,” he tweeted. “Worse even than Afghanistan. Much caused by DRUGS. Wall is being built!…why wouldn’t any sane person want to build a Wall! Construction has started and will not stop until it is finished.”
“Republicans on the Homeland Security Committee are wasting their time. Democrats, despite all of the evidence, proof and Caravans coming, are not going to give money to build the DESPERATELY needed WALL. I’ve got you covered. Wall is already being built, I don’t expect
Breitbart – Virginia State Delegate Dawn Adams (D-Richmond) sent an email newsletter on Wednesday apologizing for lack of “due diligence” in knowing details of legislation she cosponsored that allows abortion up to the moment of birth in the state.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that Adams apologized after public outcry resulted from abortion legislation State Delegate Kathy Tran (D-Fairfax) introduced that allows abortion “up until the moment of birth if one doctor certified that the mother’s physical or mental health was at risk.”
“I made a mistake, and all I know to do is to admit it, tell the truth, and let the chips fall where they may,” Adams said.
Economy & Business
Judicial Watch – Weeks after a federal audit blasted the government for failing to curb rampant fraud in its multi-billion-dollar food stamp program, two Ohio men have been indicted for operating a $2.7 million scheme that spanned six years. One of the men, 59-year-old Amin Salem, is a convicted felon with a history of food stamp fraud yet the feds took six years to bust him and he remained a qualified food stamp retailer. The other man, Mohamed Salem, is his 32-year-old son and federal prosecutors say they operated a highly lucrative food stamp trafficking ring in the Cleveland area with the help of a buddy named Zahran al-Qadan.
The father and son team illegally accepted taxpayer-funded food stamps at seven gas stations, laundered the profits, had illegal firearms, operated an unregulated slaughterhouse and polluted a stream by dumping animal blood and other fluids into it, according to a statement issued by the Department of Justice (DOJ). They have been charged with conspiracy to launder money and engaging in real estate transactions using laundered food stamp proceeds. The father was also charged with illegal possession of a 12-guage shotgun and AR-15 long rifle and operating an unregulated animal slaughterhouse. The animal meat was sold for food stamp benefits, which were also accepted at the Salem’s seven gas stations. Because papa Salem had been previously convicted of conspiring to defraud the government, food stamp fraud, mail fraud and money laundering, the transactions were processed in the son’s name as well as al-Qadan’s.
“This father and son duo engaged in various illegalities to include stealing from every taxpaying citizen by engaging in food stamp fraud, a program designed to help those in need,” said FBI Acting Special Agent in Charge Robert E. Hughes. “Salem put others at risk by selling unsanitary, unregulated food.” The FBI and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which administers food stamps, reportedly investigated the Salem’s money laundering operation for two years before obtaining enough evidence to charge them. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as well as Ohio state agencies and Cleveland-are law enforcement also participated in cracking the ring, which fleeced American taxpayers out of millions.
Though this operation sticks out among others, Food stamp fraud has been pervasive for years and the alarming numbers have been well documented by the government. The USDA’s most recent figures show about $1.1 billion in food stamp fraud a year. Nearly 12% of retailers authorized by the government to accept food stamps engage in illegal practices, according to the agency. Judicial Watch has reported extensively on the rampant fraud in the program that costs American taxpayers a bewildering $64 billion annually to provide more than 20 million households with free food. Less than a year ago, nearly 200 people were arrested in Florida for operating a sophisticated ring in which 22,000 fraudulent food stamp transactions totaling $3.7 million were documented by a task force of local and federal authorities. In 2016 the feds busted the largest food stamp fraud operation in history, a $13 million enterprise run by flea market retailers in the largely black and Hispanic areas of south Florida’s Miami-Dade County known as Opa-Locka and Hialeah.
There appears to be no end in sight to the corruption that has long infested the famously bloated program. Just a few weeks ago, a federal audit revealed that “retailer trafficking” swindles the government out of more than a billion dollars a year while the USDA sits by. The agency assumes that 90% of the benefits redeemed in small stores and 40% in large stores were trafficked, according to the audit, which was conducted by the investigative arm of Congress. As if the widespread fraud weren’t bad enough, the USDA allows it to occur even though a 2008 law armed the agency with the authority to strengthen penalties for retailers caught trafficking. A USDA division called Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) is responsible for rooting out the type of fraud and corruption that continue plaguing the food stamp program. “As of November 2018, FNS had not implemented this authority,” according to congressional investigators. “By failing to take timely action to strengthen penalties, FNS has not taken full advantage of an important tool for deterring trafficking.”
Al Jazeera – US President Donald Trump said on Thursday that trade talks between US and Chinese negotiators are “going well”, but no deal will be finalised until he meets Chinese President Xi Jinping “in the near future”.
According to the Wall Street Journal, China trade negotiators proposed a meeting between Xi and Trump in China next month, but the White House has not confirmed a potential summit.
Trump is expected to meet Chinese Vice Premier Liu He at the White House later on Thursday.
The US and China opened a pivotal round of talks on Wednesday aimed at bridging deep differences over China’s intellectual property and technology transfer practices and easing a months-long tariff war.
Ahead of his meeting with the vice premier, Trump tweeted, “China’s top trade negotiators are in the US meeting with our representatives. Meetings are going well with good intent and spirit on both sides.”
Breitbart – President Donald Trump reportedly is considering tapping Herman Cain to fill one of the two vacant seats on the Federal Reserve’s board.
Cain, 73, served as a director on the board of the Kansas City Fed from 1992-1996. He eventually rose to become chairman of the board. He had been a board member of the Omaha branch of the Kansas City Fed since 1989.
Science & Technology
Collective Evolution – Scientists found that neurons in mammalian brains were capable of producing photons of light, or “Biophotons”!
The photons, strangely enough, appear within the visible spectrum. They range from near-infrared through violet, or between 200 and 1,300 nanometers.
Scientists have an exciting suspicion that our brain’s neurons might be able to communicate through light. They suspect that our brain might have optical communication channels, but they have no idea what could be communicated.
Even more exciting, they claim that if there is an optical communication happening, the Biophotons our brains produce might be affected by quantum entanglement, meaning there can be a strong link between these photons, our consciousness and possibly what many cultures and religions refer to as Spirit.
RT – Internet giant Google has been forced to disable its private iOS app collecting data from users after it was revealed that it too, like Facebook, was violating Apple’s policies. It follows the shutdown of FB developer apps on iOS.
The Screenwise Meter app launched by Google in 2012 allowed iOS and Android users over the age of 18 to earn gift cards in exchange for letting internet companies track their data.
However, the iOS version of the app needed to use Apple’s enterprise program,which allows for the distribution of apps with special privileges. Those are only supposed to be given to company employees.
While it remains in Google’s Play Store, the company have now disabled the iOS app, after it was exposed that they violated Apple’s distribution policies.
“The Screenwise Meter iOS app should not have operated under Apple’s developer enterprise program – this was a mistake, and we apologize. We have disabled this app on iOS devices,” read a statement from a Google spokesperson to The Verge.
Google claimed they had been “upfront with users about the way we use their data in this app,” adding that they have no access to encrypted data.
Apple earlier punished Facebook by revoking the license to its developer apps after it emerged that the company monitored personal data of users as young as 13 for some $20 a month. Facebook denied that it has ever “spied” on users and said all who downloaded the app went through a “clear on-boarding process asking for their permission and were paid to participate,” adding that “less than five percent” of them were teenagers.
Scenes of anger and confusion have been described in reports from Facebook HQ as thousands of employees realized that their developer builds of both internal and basic apps no longer work.
Collective Evolution – The science comes from Dr. Colin Campbell, an American biochemist who specializes in the effect of nutrition on long term health. He is Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University, he has a Ph.D. in nutrition, biochemistry, and microbiology. Scholars like Campbell and their work is so important in a world of medical education and academia that almost completely ignores nutrition. Most of our nutritional education starts in primary school and is completely designed by the big food companies, not science. But times are changing, and so are food guides. Take Canada for example, who recently re-vamped their food guide in favour of a whole foods plant-based diet. This is in large part due to the work of Dr. Campbell.
Care 2 – You don’t have to buy a new pair of shoes to feel good. In fact, I suggest you take your shoes off and walk barefoot. Walking barefoot or “earthing” offers many benefits, but keep in mind that walking barefoot in your house doesn’t count as earthing. You have to walk on a natural surface, such as sand, soil or grass.
Dr. Axe – What is a caper? The caper bush, also known as Capparis spinosa, is a type of plant native to the Mediterranean that has rounded leaves and flowers that range in color from white to pink. It also produces the caper berry, a fruit that is often consumed pickled, as well as an edible flower bud known as the caper, which is generally used as a seasoning and garnish.
Capers are typically salted and pickled, giving them their distinct, sharp capers taste and pungent aroma. They’re considered a staple in many Mediterranean dishes and are frequently featured in Cypriot, Italian and Maltese cuisines. They are also a central ingredient in tartar sauce and are often used in salads, sauces and pasta dishes.
In addition to their one-of-a-kind flavor and aroma, capers are also incredibly nutrient-dense and have been associated with several important health benefits. In particular, capers have been shown to reduce inflammation, enhance liver health, stabilize blood sugar levels and more.
Top 5 Benefits of Capers
News – The first generic version of the widely used Advair Diskus inhaler for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has won U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval.
This approval “is part of our longstanding commitment to advance access to lower cost, high-quality generic alternatives,” said Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.
“People living with asthma and COPD know too well the critical importance of having access to the treatment they need to feel better. Today’s approval will bring more competition to the market, which will ultimately benefit the patients who rely on this drug,” Woodcock said Wednesday in an agency news release.
The new inhaler, from drug maker Mylan, contains fluticasone propionate and salmeterol inhalation powder. It’s approved for twice-daily treatment of asthma in patients aged 4 years and older. In COPD cases, it’s approved for maintenance treatment of airflow obstruction and reducing exacerbations.
Asthma is a chronic lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways. More than 26 million people in the United States are known to have it, including about 7 million children, the FDA noted.